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5 ways to be human in B2B marketing

Written by Laura Greenhalgh
Posted on 03 Sep 2021
Time it takes to read: 5 mins

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The distinction between B2B and B2C marketing still exists in many ways. There are clear differences between the needs of business leaders compared to individual consumers for most products and services.

However, the reality is that the decision-makers behind B2B, and the consumers behind B2C, are all people. People are driven by emotion and want to know how a product or service will solve their needs. Putting the human at the centre of your B2B marketing strategy will ensure your content is tailored to the needs of your audience.

What’s the difference between B2C and B2B marketing?

B2B marketing means you’re targeting buyers within the business environment. When targeting B2B you’re talking to the decision-makers within an organisation who will make the purchase decision or influence those who do.

As B2B leads tend to be unaware of your brand, products or services, it’s common to use formal language to build trust and reliability. This can often take the human element out of communication. The focus goes on showing the effectiveness of your product, compared to the emotional appeal behind it. While the language can be slightly more formal, your content when communicating with B2B should always show the value and benefit of your offering.

Price tends to be a leading factor in communicating with B2B customers as company budgets are a strong determiner when choosing which provider to use. In B2C, price isn’t typically used as a selling point. This means B2C marketers focus on how the product will make the consumer’s life better, rather than help them save money.

Being more human in B2B marketing

Human to human marketing refers to a more conversational way of communicating with businesses and consumers; putting the focus on communicating with a person and tapping into the emotions they’re driven by.

While business needs must be met in order to complete a transaction, a customer’s emotions have to be engaged to grow successful relationships.

To do human to human marketing effectively, you have to remember to put the person (you are marketing to) at the centre of your experience. Follow these 5 steps that will help you be more human in B2B marketing:

1. Listen to your customers

To appeal to your customers’ needs, you must know what those needs are. Listening to your customers will help you learn what they really want from your brand. Having conversations with prospects will ensure you understand their pain points and solve them with your offering. 

Rather than making assumptions about what your customers need, asking the right questions during the sales process will help you make more data-driven decisions. You can use this information during product development as well as throughout your messaging and content to ensure you can effectively engage your end-user.

2. Understand your buyer personas

Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers. Outlining detailed buyer personas enables you to tailor your messaging, content, products and services to meet the specific needs and behaviours of your audience. 

Your buyer personas should guide your entire customer journey. They ensure you target your customers with the right content at the right time, to move them closer to a purchase decision and build strong, loyal advocacy.

3. Embrace storytelling

Often B2B is driven by data and metrics. It leads with facts and figures rather than telling a story that your customers can relate to. With B2B, often the challenge is creating a story that all of your buyer personas can buy into, not just one of them.

To do this, you should take your focus away from the product or service you’re trying to sell, and focus on being a brand that represents your audience. Utilise your brand personality to tell your story and maintain consistent messaging across all channels and communications.

4. Don’t over personalise

Personalisation is proven to engage B2B buyers. According to Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalised experiences. ‘Recognise me’ personalisation tactics, such as using the customer’s name, industry, company or general location, can show your customer that you know who they are and what they’re looking for.

Alternatively, ‘help me’ personalisation tactics use data to tailor the customer journey and engage customers. According to Instapage, 74% of consumers feel frustrated when a website experience isn’t personal. Using data makes the customer experience easier, faster and more enjoyable. You can direct the customer where they need to go and ensure they have all the relevant information they need to make a decision.

5. Place emotion at the core

Ultimately, humans are driven by emotion. While you can appeal to logistics, budget and practicalities, tapping into the emotions behind your buyers will drive sales and build relationships. Seeking an emotional connection with a prospect will help establish your brand as reliable, relevant and trustworthy.

Marketing that makes customers feel something will ensure your brand stands out and stays at the forefront of their minds. Customers will forget stats and figures, but will always remember if something made them happy, supported and excited.

Successful B2B brands put humans at the centre of every message. Rather than focusing on marketing to a business, always think about the needs of the person making the decision. Using the 5 steps above will help you build trust, grow relationships and improve the customer experience to engage with your audience.

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